tv The Situation Room CNN September 27, 2012 4:00pm-7:00pm EDT
this a better country. >> no one is perfect. no one should give up on these young men. i really, honestly, kudos to you guys for talking to these guys tomorrow. thank you both. both fathers and nba ballers as well. >> thanks for having us. thank you for having me and watching me here in cnn world headquarters in atlanta. want to send you to washington. "the situation room" begins right now. brooke, thanks very much. happening now, an extraordinary moment at the united nations. israel's prime minister literally draws a red line in a dramatic fashion on iran's nuclear program. but will the u.s. do the same? the presidential candidates make simultaneous stops in the same state and even target the same set of voters. plus, the obama campaign combines mitt romney's words with some potentially devastating pictures. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
as of today we're just 40 days away until the presidential election. and for the second day in a row both mitt romney and president obama have been campaigning in the same battleground state. this time it's virginia where both men targeted the same group of voters. let's walk over to cnn's national political correspondent jim acosta who's been out on the campaign trail watching what's going on. another dramatic day. virginia, virginia, virginia. pretty important place. >> that's right. a rare visit to washington for me. but it's good to be home, wolf. all politics is local. so it was no surprise to hear both candidates hit on national security themes today in their speeches in virginia. but the state is much bigger than that. it's really a republican firewall for mitt romney.
in battleground virginia, both president obama and mitt romney pulled out the heavy artillery before a group of veterans, romney slammed the president for the massive defense cuts part of the fiscal cliff coming at the end of the year. >> it is still a troubled and dangerous world. and the idea of cutting our military commitment by a trillion dollars over this decade is unthinkable. and devastating. and when i become president of the united states, we will stop it. i will not cut our commitment to our military. >> the president once again blasted romney's hidden camera comments on the 47% of americans he dubbed victims of government dependence. >> i don't think we can get very far with leaders who writeoff half the nation as a bunch of victims who never take responsibility for their own lives. >> 47% of the people vote for the president no matter what. who -- >> the obama campaign turned romney's secretly recorded remarks into a devastating new
ad claiming the gop nominee's words under the families and veterans. >> so my job is not to worry about -- they should take personal responsibility. >> romney two days in a row out to link national security to the nation's sluggish recovery. he's seizing on new economic data revising down the 2nd quarter gdp. >> this is not just one quarter. this has been going on now for years. china's growing much faster than we. russia's growing faster than we. our economy needs to be reinvigorated. >> but not all the numbers paint a gloomy picture. the labor department announced it undercounted nearly 400,000 jobs in 2011 meaning that 4.4 million jobs have been created since the president's inauguration. slightly more than the number lost in that same period.
but the president said there's still measuring work to do. >> we're not where we need to be. not yet. we've got a lot more folks who have to get back to work. we've got a lot more work to do to make the middle class secure again. but the question is, who's plan is better for you? >> an obama win in republican-leaning virginia could deal romney a crushing blow. the president won here four years ago becoming the first democrat to do so since lyndon johnson. but in the state the military vote is not the only game in town. football fans are everywhere. so it's no surprise a reporter asked romney about the deal to end the dispute between the nfl and its referees. a question romney appeared to fumble. >> what do you think about the nfl refs? >> i sure hope they do. >> well, the refs will be back and they'll be back tonight playing in baltimore. but romney continues his push on national securityish shies at an event at a military college in
pennsylvania tomorrow. that is a state where he is trailing the president according to recent polls. but it's one the campaign thinks it could put into play, wolf. >> why do they think that? the polls have been very lopsided in pennsylvania not just recently but for weeks and weeks. >> they've looked at that state for some time. they think it's something they could put in play. obviously they know it would be an uphill battle because in recent elections that state has been pretty solidly blue. but, wolf, i have to tell you even though these recent battleground polls have shown romney falling behind in places like ohio and florida, if you look at the attitude of the campaign, they are showing no worry, no concern. they are confident they will make up ground during the debates and this will still be a tight election come election day. >> still plenty of time to go. three debates. a lot can clearly happen. i haven't seen the romney folks put a lot of money in advertising in pennsylvania. that's a sure sign that they're maybe not convinced it's really in play. >> we'll see if that changes. >> yeah. that could change.
you're right. thank you very much. today is the first day votes can be cast in one of the battleground states that will help decide the 2012 presidential election. our chief national correspondent john king is in iowa right now where in person absentee voting actually started today. it's pretty early, but they're voting not only in iowa but in other parts of the country as well, john. >> reporter: wolf, 35 states plus the district of columbia allow some form of in person early voting. as you noted, the iowa voting kicked off today. we're here in iowa city. we saw a pretty healthy line. mostly students, mostly obama supporters here. mostly obama supporters on day one. now, republicans say that's overblown. if you've made up your mind to vote even before the debates, you are going to be for one candidate or the other no matter what and you are going to vote. so if you're voting early, voting late, it doesn't matter. but one of the places obama thinks it helps is they had a big swell in the youth vote last
time. they had the support in the polls, but, wolf, frankly they think turnout could be down this time. sometimes college students get a bit distracted. one of the things, the president of the university of iowa democrats, her job is to tell all of her friends, all of the fellow students vote now. >> things come up. you can have an exam. you can wait until election day and not know where your precinct is. a lot of student haves to go to elementary schools, they don't have cars, they don't know where it is, any extra obstacle can keep students home on election day. early voting gives us 40 more chances to catch people. >> reporter: now, republicans traditionally don't invest as much time in early voting. but, wolf, as ewe know this comes as a time, this is one of the battleground states, iowa is, that's gone from a tie to at least breaking a few points in the president's favor. that has some republicans here and elsewhere in the country a bit nervous. they're worried about congressional races and other
races. they think if things don't turn around soon, governor romney would be a drag on the ticket. i talked to a veteran republican, former state party chairman, he says, yes, people are voicing those concerns, but be calm. governor romney has time. >> clearly if a candidate loses by more than five, it starts to affect balance. that's a big issue for republicans. but the way i look at it, we're starting the fourth quarter, we have a strong quarterback. and anybody that knows football knows that fourth quarter's when most of the action happens. so october will be big. and if romney has a good start to the month, we'll be fine. >> reporter: you hear him say october will be big. that starts the month. that would be the first debate, wolf, on october 3rd. republicans say this is overblown. doesn't matter if they vote early or election day. but look at the request for early mail-in democrats have a five-to-one advantage. in the county where i'm in, more
than half the votes were cast early last election. that's where most of the students are. fascinating to watch. one thing republicans are worried about as this early voting opens, the president has momentum at the moment. they say it's critical that governor romney switch that momentum as that voting continues wolf, 40 days right up to election day. >> everyone agrees, john, iowa very much in play right now, right? >> reporter: yes. it's one of the states -- we have nine states we call toss-ups. this is one of them. seven of those nine states allow some form of in person early voting. iowa is still in play, but iowa is one of those states that have drifted a bit in the president's favor. and, again, this is a state where republicans did very well in 2010. they believe they have some energy on the ground. but they've watched the last ten days, wolf, if you talk to them privately, they're not happy with the romney strategy. they're not happy with the romney advertisements. and they think first and foremost he must have a very, very strong debate on the question of which candidate can better handle the economy. they say he must do that in that first week of october to turn the tide here. >> all right.
john will be joining us later in "the situation room" as well. thanks, john, very much. today we learned the president plans a friday phone conversation with the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. earlier today the prime minister literally, literally showed the world where to draw a red line to stop the iranians from enriching enough uranium to make nuclear weapons. >> if these are the facts, if these are the facts, and they are, where should a red line be drawn? a red line should be drawn right here. before, before iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb. >> truly historic and extraordinary moment at the u.n. general assembly. let's discuss the political fallout with our senior
political analyst ron bro brownstein. when he shows up and draws a red line and suggests by next summer as he said earlier, six or seven months it will be too late. this is the time. it's got to be done. that puts enormous pressure i assume on the president. >> this has been extraordinary watching this over the past few weeks as prime minister netanyahu in a series of speeches and now this u.n. appearance, i think this is trying to maximize the leverage to put the most pressure possible for president obama to align with him on this idea to establish a red line to trigger military action. the president so far is saying no. polling this week shows the country divided evenly on who would better handle the challenge, romney or obama. but it's also true there's been no appetite i think in the american public for another war in the mideast. in that sense netanyahu has kind of an uphill argument to push. >> how important is this issue
out there for those undecided voters specifically the undecided voters in those key battleground states that will determine wlo gets 270 electoral college votes, we're talking florida, ohio, virginia and a few others? >> well thrks is overwhelming. it's really about the role of government. kind of ideological divergence between romney and obama. those are the two critical issues here. on foreign policy generally the president has had an advantage. somewhat unusual for a democrat. seen more capable handling foreign policy. his job approval have been better than ratings on domestic policy. but with netanyahu raising the question -- with the differences being made so visible by netanyahu's own visibility, the question for jewish support in a couple places that could matter. it's not inconceivable given the arguments from the israeli prime minister. >> they're not going to meet face-to-face. they're both obviously here in the united states.
but there will be a phone call tomorrow. what's the political fallout from this decision that someone made that the president should not get together with netanyahu during these final weeks of this election? >> well, look, relationships are fraught between president obama and netanyahu as they were between clinton and netanyahu. netanyahu and his view of the world and what it takes to make israel secure is closer to a neocon republican view of what it takes to achieve security for israel. i don't think the president wants there to be the sense of a complete and utter breach politically at least in the u.s. going into the election. nor in fact does he want that in practice. the underlying relationship is very solid. the immediate relationship between these two leaders clearly has differences. >> we'll speak in the next hour with the israeli ambassador to the united states. a dramatic moment indeed at the u.n. ron, thanks very much. there's important news out today about jobs. and it may have pulled the rug out from under one of the republican's favorite attacks on president obama. standby. on every one of our cards there's a date.
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align. align naturally helps maintain digestive balance. ♪ ooh, baby, can i do for you today? ♪ try align today. brand new numbers show president obama may be a job creator after all. something that could take away one of the republicans' most potent attacks on his administration. let's bring in ali velshi to take us through the new numbers that have come out today. what do they show, ali? >> wolf, we were expecting this to happen before the election. the surprise here is it's based on a recalculation of jobs. so since the day that barack obama took office there have been a net loss in 2009 of 4.3 million jobs. when he took over they were losing about 750,000 jobs a month. 4.3 million were lost. in 2010 to now we have now gained 4.4 million jobs. we thought we were a little
short of that, but the labor department has gone back and counted. initially their estimates now based on actual filings for unemployment insurance which gives president obama a net gain so far of 125,000 jobs. now, the next jobs report is one week from now -- one week from tomorrow on friday. and then there's one more before the election. and there's some sense that he would be able before the end of the election to say every job lost on my watch has been recovered. we're now several weeks out from the election and he gets to say that. so every job lost since barack obama took the presidency has been recovered. not one for one, wolf, as you know. there's lots of arguments that the quality of jobs are lower than what was lost. but the numbers bear out for the president. >> people may have jobs but not necessarily the same salary they had before the collapse, if you will. >> right. >> they're working, they're putting food on the table, but not necessarily at the same ability -- the same salary levels that they had before. >> right. and that's the issue. the republicans have backed off
this whole idea of obama as a job killer. they used to use that terminology. they tend not to now only because they've seen this coming. but that would be the strongest argument now that the jobs are not of the same quality. but in terms of numbers, this was a very big argument for the republicans six months ago and prior to that that more jobs -- in fact, the way they like to say it, wolf, you've probably heard it many times before there were more people working on the first day of president obama's presidency than at any other point. that's the way they'd like to say it. bottom line it was a small milestone but an important one for the president. >> now, the other number we're looking at is gdp growth in the last quarter. it went up but not by much. >> right. so the way you measure growth in the economy is how much it grew versus the same quarter, the same three months the year before. and the most recent quarter that we have numbers for is the second quarter of this year. we had thought that the economy grew 1.7%, which is relatively slow. india's growing about 6%, china more than 7%. what we learned today is, again,
this is one of those revisions that the government does. we found out that the growth was substantially slower, 1.3%. that of course has got the republicans talking. mitt romney put out a statement to say that the obama economy is stuck in neutral. in fairness, 1.3% isn't neutral, but it's not gang busters. we should be running at 3% or higher to be a healthy economy and recover all the jobs that have been lost. >> let's hope it gets to that level. a lot of people are counting on it. ali, thanks very much. >> my pleasure. with only 40 days to the election, people across the country are focusing in on the presidential race. while we can't keep track of all the water cooler debates, we have some exclusive eye-opening data about political discussions on the world's biggest social network, we're talking about facebook. let's bring in mark preston, he's taking a closer look. mark, tell our viewers what you're seeing. >> wolf, over the past 72 hours we've witnessed a large number of people all across the nation buzzing about mitt romney on facebook. so much so that more people are talking about him than barack
obama in 41 of 50 of these states. but do these people who live in these states that will determine the winner of the election, are these the people who matter? not according to this new data provided exclusively to cnn by facebook that shows in the past three days president obama's being mentioned at a greater frequency on facebook in the nine crucial battleground states. >> do we know why romney leads in some? obama leads in some? what's going on here? can we really tell from this? >> well, wolf, a senior obama official explained to me that voter targeting is a top priority and they're focusing their efforts on trying to convince voters in these key toss-up states to support the president. and that includes an emphasis on social media. >> both of the candidates, mark, were in virginia today. so they're focusing a lot on this key battleground state. what about the impact of facebook, social media in virginia? >> well, wolf, let's take a quick look and see when the candidates were mentioned on facebook in virginia. 56% of these mentions were about president obama while 44% were
about mitt romney according to facebook insights. and then take a look at this one public post, wolf. it's from a romney supporter in another battleground state of ohio calling on virgin yans to support romney. john logan writes, come on, virginia, you made a mistake and voted for obama last time. let's correct that and vote this time for mitt romney. by and large, wolf, we want to emphasize we don't know the overall sentiment of all these individual posts. but we do know who america's talking about around the virtual dinner table all across america. and since half of america's on facebook, this is a very powerful tool to see which candidate is making america curious. >> but even though they get mentioned on facebook, we don't know if those mentions are positive or negative. they just get mentioned a lot. >> they just get mentioned a lot. wolf, going into the story i thought obama and his allies were greatly outspending romney's team on ads in these toss-up states. i was wrong. analysis just run a short time ago for cnn shows romney and his
outspent obama in his backers in six of nine of these battleground states. wolf, as i mentioned earlier, the obama campaign is spending a lot of its time targeting battleground voters on the web. >> it's going to be close no matter what the polls show now, i suspect it will be very, very close. mark preston, our political director. if you want to see all of this exclusive information, log onto cnn.com/facebook insights. last thursday was not the best day for the florida department store. we're talking about, we have some new video that is going to prove it to you. robbers brazenly storm a saks fifth avenue shop. what happens next? you'll see. woman 1: this isn't just another election. we're voting for...
the future of our medicare and social security. man 1: i want facts. straight talk. tell me your plan... and what it means for me. woman 2: i'm tired of the negative ads and political spin. that won't help me decide. man 2: i earned my medicare and social security. and i deserve some answers. anncr: where do the candidates stand on issues that... affect seniors today and in the future? find out with the aarp voters' guide at earnedasay.org
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lus sa sylvester is monitoring today's top story including today's deal with the nfl refs. >> roger goodell insists monday's botched call was not a tipping point for the league's tentative deal reached yesterday with referees. the eight-year pack gives the refs a pay hike and suspends a lockout forcing the nfl to use replacement referees. the league argues the packers should have won but let the results of the game stand anyway. and los angeles police are piecing together the circumstances leading to the deaths of actor johnny lewis and his landlady. lewis, a cast member of the fx series "sons of anarchy" died after falling or jumping from a roof of a house in an affluent
hollywood neighborhood. 81-year-old kathrine davis was found dead inside the home. autopsies are planned today. and the fbi has released video from a robbery that happened last thursday at a saks fifth avenue store in florida. the bureau says several robbers stormed the floor, ordered people on the floor and took money from some of the registers. they also knocked over a jewelry case and took a bag full of jewelry. fortunately, no one was hurt. $5,000 reward is now being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction. and the king of rock & roll has been dethroned at least when it comes to one of his long, long standing records. billboard magazine says elvis presley is no longer the artist with the most billboard hot 100 hits. guess who that goes to? well, that title now goes to rapper lil' wayne. he broke the record with games celebration that hit the list at number 82. and that gives him 109 entries.
one more than elvis' record of 108. that record has been presley's since 1958. lil' wayne now dethroning -- >> keep saying little -- >> sorry. i'm not as hip as you. >> no. you're a rap artist. it's lil' wayne. not little. >> how do you say? >> l-i-l. >> sorry about that. here's the thing, wolf blitzer knows who you are. that's pretty impressive. >> congratulations to lil' wayne. thank you. in today's strategy session we're going to debate the impact of the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu literally drawing a red line on iran's nuclear program. [ woman ] it's 32 minutes to go time,
and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over the district. the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... working together has never worked so well. in that time there've been some good days. and some difficult ones.
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symptoms are not the same for everyone. i got sick...and then i got better. a phoenix filmmaker has been arrested for touching off a terror hoax that triggered a steam of 911 calls and he says put the phoenix police to the test. christine lacraw of our affiliate ktvk reports. >> hi, i'm an independent filmmaker -- >> reporter: that filmmaker who allegedly dressed his 16-year-old relative in a sheet, gave him a fake rocket propelled grenade launcher and had him walk up and down a busy phoenix intersection. >> phoenix police officers received several 911 calls from concerned citizens from the area of 33rd avenue and bell. >> reporter: in his film he references the colorado movie
massacre and columbine and says he wants to test police here. >> to find out how the phoenix police department responds to emergency situations. >> reporter: in the movie the narrater claims the response time for police is 14 minutes. >> why is this taking so long for law enforcement to respond? it took 14:57 from the time we were sure we were first spotted until the time the phoenix police actually arrived. >> reporter: but phoenix police say their response time was much faster. >> once the call was actually put out by dispatch to the time we got to that home, it was about three and a half minutes. >> reporter: tur li is a filmmaker. according to his facebook page, he's also a master hypnotist and magician. but his latest project was hardly movie magic according to police. >> that's a terrorist incident because we don't use grenade launchers in this country. >> that's christine lacraw of our phoenix affiliate ktvk.
he faces a number of charges including knowingly giving a false impression of a terror act. he's free on bond. we tried to contact him for comment but did not hear back, at least not yet. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu literally drawing a red line. ahhhh drill sound chirping electric shaver shaking remote tapping sound shaking drill chirping tapping shaking remote wouldn't it be great to have one less battery to worry about? car honking irping the 2012 sonata hybrid. the only hybrid with a lifetime hybrid battery warranty. from hyundai. is the only yogurt brand endorsed by weight watchers and your taste buds have always endorsed us. so, you know what this means... this is a real win win!
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benjamin netanyahu literally draw a red line saying this is how far iran can go in its nuclear program, but no further. watch this. >> if these are the facts, if these are the facts, and they are, where should a red line be drawn? a red line should be drawn right here. before iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb. >> and the prime minister says that probably will happen by the summer, this coming summer. the latest six or seven months from now. let's get reaction. erick erickson, what do you think of the presentation that prime minister netanyahu made today? >> i thought it was very simple and very effective. i can guarantee you what the headlines are going to be tomorrow on this issue.
people are focused on what netanyahu did. interestingly enough i think it's a -- test on this election a lot of conservatives and republicans praised him. a lot of democrats and liberals on twitter and elsewhere thought it was silly and simplistic, but the fact of the matter is we don't need to pay attention to his red line, we need to pay attention to iran's nuclear rep weapons program, which is what his point was. >> when you saw that, roland, what do you think of that presentation? >> imagery matters. think about it. to this day we remember nikita pounding on the podium at the united nations. we remember general collin powell as secretary of state using those to point out weapons of mass destruction in iraq that we have yet to find. so the imagery matters. that is going to be the front page photo across newspapers worldwide. but here's what's also interesting. on this same day a "new york times" reporting right now that the foreign ministry right before he spoke released an internal report showing they could stop iran without a
military strike. so it's very interesting when you have netanyahu saying this, drawing the red line, but then the israelis releasing a report saying they could still stop iran without a military strike. >> they say there could be tougher sanctions that maybe would get the job done. here's another passage, erick, of what the prime minister said today directly referring to what's going on right now in the united states. >> two days ago from this podium president obama reiterated that the threat of a nuclear armed iran cannot be contained i very much appreciate the president's position as does everyone in my country. we share the goal of stopping iran's nuclear weapons program. this goal unites the people of israel. it unites americans, democrats and republicans alike. and it is shared by important leaders throughout the world.
>> all right. erick, when you heard that, what did you think? >> well, i thought he was trying to put the president on the spot on this. the headlines have been around for the last week or so that he hasn't really had a cordial relationship with the prime minister or been willing to take a meeting with the prime minister. i think the prime minister by drawing the red line and saying what he said just got himself an invitation to the white house or at least a phone call with the president i think that's going to happen tomorrow i read. >> wolf, i got to disagree with that. first of all, they had a one-hour conversation last week. what you saw netanyahu doing was frankly extending an olive branch because the last thing he needs is for there to be this sense of tension between the u.s. and israel. and, again, i go back to their foreign ministry. very interesting where you have the prime minister making his -- taking his hard line with the foreign ministry of israel saying something completely different saying, no, we are in lock step with america. israel needs to have a strong relationship with america. the last thing they need is for the rest of the world to see those two at odds because we're
at odds with each other. he can't get other countries to go along with the sanctions. >> the whole business oftd sanctions, the sanctions are tough, erick. and we did hear the prime minister in his speech say, yes, the sanctions are having an impact on the economy of iran and average iranians, but so far he hasn't seen the sanctions have any impact on the enriching of uranium, the centrifuges, the move towards some sort of nuclear bomb. that's what the prime minister said today. and what roland is referring to is a report that the israeli foreign ministry released suggesting there's still more opportunity to tighten those sanctions and maybe they would have the impact. >> well, maybe they would and maybe they wouldn't. i would like to hope sanctions would work. but oftentimes democratic nations from the west impose sanctions until the bitter end and we wind up having a war. i think that's what his point was. we need to move rapidly here to that red line point of drawing
the line, imposing all the sanctions we can impose quickly because we're going to run out of time. and no one wants to have a war with iran over this. >> this is good cop/bad cop, wolf. netanyahu playing bad cop, foreign ministry playing good cop. you still get what you want in the end. >> standby for a moment. there's more to discuss. by the way the top of the hour the israeli ambassador to the united states, michael oren, he'll be joining us live. we'll discuss this at length. also when we come back another round of strategy session. we're taking a closer look at the magic number in president obama's latest campaign ad, 47. standby. the pace of change is accelerating. the way we... perform, compete and grow. and people are driving this change. that's the power of human resources. the society... for human resource management and its members know... how to harness that power, because we help develop it.
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we're back with today's strategy session. joining us roland martin and cnn contributor erick erickson, editor and chief of redstate.com. a new obama campaign ad is rather simple. let me play this chunk and then we'll discuss. >> i'm barack obama and i approve this message. >> there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. who believe they are victims. who believe the government has a responsibility for them who believe they're entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. and they will vote for this president no matter what. so my job is not to worry about those people. they should take personal responsibility for their lives. >> that ad is playing in colorado, florida, iowa, nevada, new hampshire, ohio and
virginia. solely audio with some words written. the audio portion written up on the screen. how much is that 47% comment by mitt romney, erick, hurt him? >> you know, i think the way it's been portrayed in the past couple weeks very much has hurt mitt romney. although i don't think it's as bad as a lot of people have thought. i think his troubles in the polling also relate to his libyan statement. you know, romney's going to have to come up with something to combat this with. and thus far his campaign doesn't seem to know what to do. the shot they're running right now of mitt romney in the commercial looking at the camera probably is their most effective ad to combat this is this line the president and i both care about people that my plans will help them. interesting swing state ad it's running. >> what do you think of this, roland? >> the problem is not how the ad was portrayed, erick. the problem is that the words are coming directly out of mitt romney's mouth. when he calls folks victims, when he talks about in terms of
all they want are free food, housing, things along those lives. if you're an american out there and you're struggling when it comes to your budget and groceries, you are concerned about that. the bottom line is mitt romney is not responding specifically to this ad. he tried to double down on it and own it. it hasn't helped him at all. what it does is it gives the perception that he is simply out of touch with the middle class. and that's the last thing you need when you're trying to pick up one, two, three points that you critically need in those battleground states. >> at the same time though, i want you to respond to that, erick, but at the same time he did respond to a certain degree in an interview with nbc news yesterday showing that he is compassionate, he is understanding. he's concerned about those people. and this is how he defended himself. watch this. >> don't forget. i got everybody in my state insured. i don't think there's anything that shows more empathy and care
about the people of this country than that kind of record. >> were you surprised by him bringing up the romney health care plan in massachusetts at this sensitive time? >> no. sadly it doesn't surprise me. we're going to vote for him, republicans will, whether we want it or not. hopefully he'll hold to his word that he will repeal obama care. but to roland's point on the middle class, i think most of the polls even though they may show him behind show him winning the middle class. i agree with roland he's got to respond more effectively. but i think they're trying to play the empathy i care card. no one has thought in the ten years of his electoral career that he's really been a guy who cared. they thought he was a guy who could get something done. i think he needs to focus on getting things done as opposed to be able to message i care like george h.w. bush. >> a compassionate conservative like george w. bush projected himself. >> first of all, the government that george w. bush was already
a true conservative. he didn't have to lock that portion of his base up. wolf, i got to say it. trust me, after playing that sound bite on the health care in massachusetts, you can literally feel erick cringe as mitt romney said that because, again, he says i'm going to repeal obama care but then he comes back later and says i'm going to implement some pieces of the affordable care act. so, dude, you can't have it both ways. and that's romney's problem. he is boxed in because he was the one who passed universal health care in massachusetts. now we have it nationally. and like i say, guys like erick who desperately want to see a republican president are going, oh, my god, here he goes again. >> go ahead, erick. >> yep. well, i keep a little airplane bag in the front pocket in front of me for times like this. i remember a lot of republican candidates saying it's going to be hard for him to make the case on obama care. we're finding that out. i still hope he wins. i think he's probably a little behind in the swing states.
but i think he can do it. he needs to get over this trying to be liked and focus on getting the job done. people want a solution. they don't like the guy right now. >> i'm looking forward to the presidential debate when they debate health care. the back and forth between president obama and governor romney on this issue will be i think fascinating. we'll look forward to that. >> yeah, erick's not. trust me. >> i'm looking forward to seeing how they debate. health care's a very important subject. >> yes, it is. >> thanks very much. roland martin, erick erickson, good discussion. in this sprint to election day, another aspect of mitt romney's wealth in texas could become a hot political topic. you're going to find up with his quote i dig it.
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another example of how the tax system often favors the wealthy. mitt romney's taking advantage of something that's perfectly legal but could become a political liability. lisa sylvester has been looking into this. explain what's going on, lisa. >> well, wolf, this is a story that bloomberg first reported. it's about a trust that offers big benefits for mitt romney and his children and his 18 grandchildren. it's the kind of thing, you know, that lots of high net worth individuals will use to pass on wealth. but the question as you mentioned is is it becoming a political liability for romney? the romney family is a tight-knit clan. mitt and ann romney like many wealthy couples are working to make sure their wealth passes to their five sons and grandchildren. a family trust established as early as 1995 has amassed $100 million according to the romney campaign. romney's 2011 tax records show he has set up an intentionally defector granter trust or idgt.
also known as i dig it trust. in this case romney pays any income taxes on the assets in that trust. >> that is a trust that people create where they give assets for future generations and they continue to pay the income tax on it. so i've given away an asset, but i continue to pay the income tax on it which allows me to shift more wealth to the next generation. >> what that means is if an investment in the trust gains in value by $1 million over time, it's romney who pays the 15 capitol gains tax of $150,000. not his children or grandchildren. in essence, it's like passing on wealth to the next generation without having to pay gift taxes on that amount. and gift taxes have ranged from 35% to 55% since the 1990s. this is a common estate planning strategy for the wealthy. >> it's 100% legal and allowed under our internal revenue code. and it is being -- it's estate
planning technique being used by many, many high net worth clients and not people who have $250 million but even people who have $20 million, $30 million. >> americans for tax fairness action fund, a liberal 501c 4 group saying his income tax returns are exhibit a of why we need to reform a rigged tax system that favors the wemt thi at the expense of working americans. we contacted the romney campaign for comment, but they did not return our calls. the obama administration has proposed revising estate planning rules. and one option would be ending this tax benefit. >> it would affect estate planning as we know it. this is something that is commonly done day in and day out and has been for many years. >> that liberal group americans for tax fairness action fund is now calling on release his gift tax returns. that will show more details on how much the couple gifted to their children and grandchildren
over the years and how much they paid in taxes, wolf. >> lisa, thanks very much. and you're in "the situation room." happening now, the israeli prime minister draws a chilling red line for iran at the united nations. does it mean military action is imminent? i'll ask the israeli ambassador to the united states this hour. also, syrian rebels scoring new victories on the battlefield thanks possibly to help from expats living right here in the united states. and a new twist in one of america's greatest unsolved mysteries. will drilling into a driveway finally uncover the remains of the notorious teamsters boss jimmy hoffa? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
a truly extraordinary moment at the united nations today. israeli's prime minister benjamin netanyahu on the world stage literally drawing a red line he warns iran cannot cross in its development of nuclear weapons. cnn's foreign affairs correspondent jill dougherty is in new york joining us now with the dramatic details. jill. >> reporter: right, wolf. red lines don't lead to war. red lines prevent wars. at least that's what the prime minister thinks. in a dramatic speech to the u.n. general assembly israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu pulled out a chart showing a bomb then drew a red line near the top. >> a red line should be drawn right here. before iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb.
before iran gets to a point where it's a few months away or a few weeks away from amassing enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon. >> reporter: it was a simplistic but chilling illustration of when netanyahu insists iran's nuclear program must be stopped. and he laid out a timeline. >> by next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates they will have finished the medium enrichlment and move on to the final stage. from there it's only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb. >> reporter: netanyahu is referring to iran's growing stash of uranium enriched to 20%, a level that experts say can be further enriched to weapons grade. the israeli leader has challenged president barack obama to declare his own red line that if iran crosses it
could trigger a military strike on iran's nuclear facilities. mr. obama is refusing to do that. he argues that iran is developing the capability to make a nuclear weapon but may not have made the final political decision to make a bomb. for now mr. obama wants to use diplomacy and heavy economic angsts. netanyahu argues neither diplomacy nor sanctions have worked. only a red line will. >> i believe faced with a clear red line iran will back down. and this will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to convince iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program altogether. >> reporter: the white house responding to netanyahu says as the prime minister said, the united states and israel share the goal of preventing iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. the president made that clear to
the world in his u.n. general assembly speech this week. we will continue our close consultation and cooperation toward achieving that goal. this issue of a red line has created real tension between netanyahu and obama. the white house says president obama is expected to have a follow-up call with the prime minister friday. and this evening here in new york secretary of state hillary clinton will meet with the israeli prime minister. >> love to be a fly on the wall in that meeting. also like to be eavesdropping on that phone call tomorrow between the prime minister and the president. jill, thanks very, very much. let's bring in the israeli ambassador to the united states. ambassador michael oren joining us from new york. he's been spending all this time with the prime minister. mr. ambassador, thanks for coming in. >> always good to be with you, wolf. >> clearly israelis, your prime minister, has literally drawn a red line. by implication it suggests that's not necessarily enough. you need the united states to
draw that same red line if the iranians are going to back down. and you haven't heard the obama administration do that yet. is that the issue right now? >> well, as the prime minister said to the general assembly today, wolf, the drawing of the red line is designed to give diplomacy and sanctions more time to work. we believe by drawing that red line you won't be increasing the chances of military engagement, you'll be significantly lessening the chances of a military engagement because the iranians have been presented with red lines in the past in the straits of hormuz and they've backed down. we know they can see the color red. we're engaged in a conversation with the obama administration about setting limits to iran's enrichment process because that's the part of the iranian nuclear program that we can actually see and monitor. and that's the part that's in facilities that are observable and are still vulnerable. and so the obama administration's engaging with us in a dialogue about it. you mentioned that the secretary
of state will be meeting with the prime minister this evening. the president will be talking with prime minister netanyahu tomorrow. that's part of an ongoing dialogue that we've had to reach an understanding about this because as prime minister netanyahu said, we don't have very much time. the iranian nuclear program is accelerating, not slowing down. and israel while it's the first target it's not the only target of iran. the target is the world. >> what i hear you saying and correct me if i'm wrong, mr. ambassador, that the israeli red line alone won't stop the iranians. you need the united states to join you in drawing that red line and then maybe the iranians would back down. is that what i'm hearing? >> we've always said the combination of crippling sanctions and military threat stand the best chance of dissuading the regime from pursuing nuclear capabilities. having said that, israel as you know is a small counted. we're located in the middle east. we're in iran's backyard. we're threatened almost daily with national annihilation by
iranian leaders and we have certain capabilities. a much bigger country far away from the middle east with vastly greater capabilities not threatened with annihilation every day. the united states can quite simply do things that we can't. and beyond that the united states has more time because we're right there next to the iranians and that program is moving very, very fast. >> listen to what michelle florny, a president of the president campaign national security committee says in defining the way they perceive -- the obama administration perceives this so-called red line. it's very different than the way the prime minister explained it today. >> well, i think we have laid out a red line. and that is iran cannot actually get a weapon. >> that's very different than what the prime minister says. she's willing to give it more time as opposed to reaching that 90% threshold which is the israeli position. >> i think you have to look at what the prime minister how he framed it today, wolf. he said the question is not when
iran gets a weapon or even decides to make a weapon. the question is at what point can we no longer stop iran from making that weapon? and that's what that red line was about. he was drawing a line between the medium enriched uranium and the high enriched uranium and beyond that point it will be virtually impossible for us to stop that bomb because they will put that bomb together in some small room somewhere in a country that's half the size of europe. and it will be very, very difficult to actually locate where that bomb was put together. so we're actually drawing a point where the iranians will understand they cannot go beyond it. and if they go beyond it, they will encounter the consequences. they will encounter a situation where iranian leaders will have to make a decision whether they will remain in power or have nuclear capabilities. they can't have it both ways. >> the president has said specifically his red line is we're not going to accept iran having a nuclear weapon, which is obviously a little bit
different significantly potentially than what you have in mind. there's an internal report that your foreign ministry apparently has circulated and published in the israeli newspaper today saying there was an opportunity right now for sanctions to be further tightened if the eu for example further tightened the sanctions. maybe that could achieve an overthrow, if you will, of the iranian regime and set back their nuclear program. what can you tell us about this? >> well, we would always hope for a political change in iran and to bring about a reorientation of iranian policy to bring back the friendship that once existed between iran and israel before the iranian revolution of 1979. but we can't count on that. we saw how in 2009 the iranian regime brutally suppressed iranian citizens who were protesting for freedom and democracy in their country. and the iranian clock -- the iranian nuclear clock is moving much, much faster than that according to to international atomic energy agency.
the iranians have tripled the rate at which they're enriching to 20% since last may alone they've doubled the amount of centrifuges that have been moved under that fortified bunker. so that clock is moving very, very swiftly. while we hope the sanctions will bring about a change, a fundamental change in the iranian orientation, we still have to plan for the possibility that it won't. keep in mind that no country has a greater interest in resolving the iranian nuclear threat through diplomatic means, than peaceful means, than israel. we have the skin in the dwgame. the red line is designed to promote diplomacy. we all have an interest in a diplomatic resolution to this problem. >> the president had a one-hour phone call with prime minister netanyahu last week. president obama's been widely criticized for having time to go on "the view" while in new york but not necessarily meeting
directly with world leaders including prime minister netanyahu. how upsetting is this to you? >> well, we understood there was a scheduling difficulty there. we have this conversation tomorrow. we've had a conversation in the past last week, president obama himself has said he has spent more time in face-to-face meetings and telephone conversations with prime minister netanyahu than with any other foreign leader. there's a very open channel there. at the highest level. but also at multiple levels beneath that we are in constant conversation with our american colleagues about the iranian issue. but not only the iranian threat, but about a number of issues that are currently opening us in the middle east. >> one final question if you can answer it quickly. it's a sensitive one. if by next spring or summer the iranians are still enriching uranium, will israel take unilateral military action to stop them even if the united states is not with israel? >> well, i'm not going to go into certainly tactical secrets
here with you on national television, wolf. but keep in mind israel is a sovereign country. it's a sovereign jewish country that has a particularly tragic past. and we have the right and duty to defend ourselves. that right and duty has been recognized by president obama. he said only israel can best decide how to defend its citizens. our hope is not to ever have to reach that point. the red line is designed to prevent war. if a red line had been drawn against nazi expansionism in the 1930s, we wouldn't have had world war ii. it stopped a war between the united states and soviet union. red lines can work. they are a tool that brings about -- can help bring about a diplomatic resolution to a threat which endangers not just israel and the middle east but the entire world. >> you're not only being seen nationally, you're being seen internationally in more than 200 countries and territories, mr. ambassad ambassador. want to correct the record on that. appreciate very much you coming in. >> as always. syrian expats right here in
the united states are helping to arm the opposition. plus, a unique look at mitt romney, his mormon faith and the picture you've probably never seen before. vying for your attention. so we invented a warning you can feel. introducing the all-new cadillac xts. available with a patented safety alert seat. when there's danger you might not see, you're warned by a pulse in the seat. it's technology you won't find in a mercedes e-class. the all-new cadillac xts has arrived, and it's bringing the future forward.
there are quiet moments for people in syria, but they don't last long. opposition forces say at least 91 people died in attacks nationwide today. and now the united nations once again appealing for nearly $500,000 to care for hundreds of thousands of syrian refugees. brian todd is here. he's working the story for us. brian, you're keeping an eye on other money going to syria, to the rebels specifically. >> we are, wolf. a group based here in the united states and canada is raising money to send directly to the syrian rebels. that money is often used to buy weapons. now, because the weapons are not being sent directly from this group, it's legal. but this has still raised some concerns in washington. outgunned at the beginning,
syria's rebels have gradually gained strength taking the fight more directly to bashar al assad's regime and scoring some battlefield victories. could some of those victories have started from this computer in washington? >> that's where you can actually identify where they conduct -- where they have a stronghold. >> reporter: brian heads the u.s.-based arm of the syrian support group, a nongovernmental group dedicated to helping the syrian rebels. why did you want to do this? >> well, i have a son. and he's 18 months old. and i think that i saw too many images of what was going on there. 2-year-olds that are white, pale and lifeless. >> reporter: you can donate to the rebels using a credit card or paypal. the website states your money can be used by the free syrian army to buy weapons. he says they've raised a couple hundred thousands dollars so far. most from syrian expats. it's all legal.
sayers, a former nato political officer, got the treasury department to give the syrian support group a license so it can raise money for the rebels without violating sanctions against syria. it's a way for the u.s. government to allow donated resources from america to get to the rebels without the government directly arming the rebels. ironically, brian sayers works to get those resources there from an office down the hall which is just three blocks from the white house just beyond those trees. sayers is clear. his group's not directly supplying the rebels with weapons. it can't do that legally. he says the money goes to rebel commanders on the ground, people who they vetted thoroughly who buy the weapons. he says those commanders have to sign a proclamation of principles saying they'll follow the je knee have convention and democratic ideals. cn incomes contributor tom fuentes says it's dangerous. >> it's almost a fast and furious situation. we'll send the weapons there and we'll track them later, no, you
won't. >> how do you know these people aren't just signing the proclamation just to get the weapons and then using it for nefarious purposes? >> we use third party contacts on the ground. we use the relationships, the family members, the contacts that are all syrian-american. >> reporter: they're also providing intelligence. sayers and his colleague in canada communicate with rebel commanders directly. that was saka discussing how to get salaries and other resources to rebels manning checkpoints in syria. this is often realtime communication, aid, resources going directly to syrian rebels on the ground from a private office here in washington or a basement in toronto. the state department contacted by cnn said it was not really thrilled with this arrangement. an official there saying "further militarizing the conflict is not something the vast majority of syrians want and could lead to greater loss of life."
wolf. >> has this group addressed the concern that after the war a lot of these weapons would be just floating around and could get into anybody's hands? >> they do. brian sayers unlike in libya, his group is not going to leave syria right after the war ends. he says they're licensed to help the syrian rebels for two years and they plan on being there on the ground after this war ends to help gather and decommission weapons. we'll see if they really do that. >> we'll see. sensitive important stuff. thanks very much for that. today the focus is in the presidential race. and they're focuses on virginia and veteran voters. up next, how president obama's turning mitt romney's words against him hoping to score points with vets. stick around. you're in "the situation room." this country was built by working people.
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even if we didn't highlight them, you can tell the state campaigns know our key to victory. take a look at where the candidates actually go. today, for example, for both president obama and governor romney it's virginia. they're fighting for its 13 electoral votes holding events not just on the same day but at nearly the exact same time. our white house correspondent brianna keilar traveled with the president. brianna. >> reporter: wolf, election day may still be weeks away, but absentee voting both mail-in and in person is underway in virginia. president obama came here to this conservative stronghold as he tries to keep this state out of the reach of mitt romney. in virginia beach president obama tailored his latest attack on mitt romney to the military voters here as he hit his opponent for his recently revealed comments that the 47% of americans wlo don't pay income taxes see themselves as victims. >> i travel around a lot in virginia and around this country. i don't need a lot of victims. i see a whole bunch of veterans who served this country with
bravery and distinction. and i see soldiers who defend our freedom every single day. and i see those military families who are wondering whether their loved ones are going to come back home safe and sound. that's who i see. >> reporter: active duty military and combat zones do not pay federal income tax. and veterans do not pay federal income tax on their veteran benefits. hammering that theme, virginia senator jim webb, a veteran and military father. >> but in receiving veterans benefits, they are not takers. they are givers in the ultimate sense of the word. >> thank you. >> reporter: you might not be able to tell by the supportive crowd of thousands here at the farm bureau live amp theater, but this part of the state is not an obama stronghold. virginia beach and nearby norfolk with their concentration of military voters lean conservative. president obama is trying to cut
into romney's support here and a recent cnn poll of polls shows him ahead six points. the obama campaign launched this attack ad thursday airing in virginia and a handful of other battleground states. >> there are victims who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them. >> reporter: and as early voting starts up in a number of states, the president framed his closing argument in a positive ad where he talks directly to the camera. >> it's time for a new economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong thriving middle class. >> reporter: president obama reiterated that message of economic patriotism as he put it here today pushing a set of newly framed proposals to krn crease manufacturing jobs, hire more science and math teachers, reduce oil imports and give tax breaks to companies that invest in the u.s. wolf. >> brianna keilar on the campaign trail with the president. thanks very much. the attack on the american consulate in benghazi, libya, is still raising lots and lots of
questions including who was behind it all? our own arwa damon goes into the mouth of the lion for an up close look at the rise of extremists right now in libya. [ woman ] it's 32 minutes to go time, and the candidate's speech is in pieces all over the district. the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... working together has never worked so well. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... ♪ atmix of energies.ve the world needs a broader
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strong words today from the defense secretary leon panetta declaring unequivocally that the deadly attack on the united states ambassador chris stevens and three other americans in libya was in his words clearly the work of terrorists. >> the reason i think it pretty clearly it was a terrorist attack is because a group of terrorists obviously conducted that attack on the consulate. and against our individuals. what terrorists were involved i think still remains to be determined by the investigation. but it clearly was a group of terrorists who conducted that attack against that facility. >> a senior u.s. official tells cnn intelligence suggested within 24 hours after the attack within 24 hours extremists either affiliated or inspired by al qaeda may have been behind it. cnn's senior international correspondent arwa damon got extraordinary access to what
could be considered a breeding ground for extremism inside the country. >> reporter: it may look like a sleepy beach front town, but it has a reputation as a home to islamist extremist militia. some of them with links to al qaeda. these militia had allegedly left their bases but continue to haunt the streets. we tried to get access to one of these bases. saw a handful of gunmen there and were told to leave. the pickup truck just swerved in front of us forcing us to stop. three men got out wanting to talk. i'm assuming about what it is that we're doing here. and they seem quite agitated. one of our escorts was warned that "since the extremists no
longer control security, they couldn't ensure ours," they were advising us to leave town. but this man tells us it's far from clear they will fade away. while we were filming here a man came over to speak to us, but he was too afraid to go on camera. he wanted us to know that the majority of people here are sick and tired of being in the spotlight because the minority he says is affiliated with al qaeda. a local journalist says radical islam has always had a place here. men from here fought in afghanistan. and estimates are that more than 50 traveled to iraq to become suicide bombers. the highest number from any town outside of iraq. the city and its surroundings were sympathetic to these groups because they had a common enemy, which was gadhafi, he explains. they were all trying to bring
down gadhafi. from the onset of the revolution it was the extremists that provided security. after liberation was announced says misouri, there was increasing pressure on al qaeda in yemen and other places. coming to libya was easy. among those setting up camp, once bin laden's driver and held in guantanamo bay for five years, established a unit here. alleged to have been sent here by al qaeda's leader. according to security sources these islamist militia have a common goal, weakening and then infiltrating libya's security apparatus. in benghazi there have been more than a dozen assassinations of former military officers. sources tell cnn that many of them were reportedly on an islamist hit list to eliminate qualified individuals that could
pose a threat. colonel of the libyan army was recently kidnapped. he says he doesn't know by whom or exactly why. he got a call from a man who spoke as if he knew him and said he had urgent information to pass on. outside his home in broad daylight two masked men forced him into their car. when i got into the car they put a black hood on my head and began saying things like, you're going to see, threatening me, he tells us. later he was forced to his knees and told to repent and renew his faith in islam. he thought he was going to die when the phone rang. i could hear someone say, he's alive. we haven't killed him yet. you can hear his voice, he recalls. and then he was free. the influence of these radical groups has emerged in the capital. last month they destroyed
shrines including this one right in the heart of tripoli. a move typical of sill fist intolerance. as the shrine was being demolished, eyewitnesses say libyan security forces facilitated the act by blocking off the street. the ministry of interior says that it's investigating these charges while also acknowledging that it cannot go after these groups claiming it wants to avoid shedding libyan blood. and that is the problem. the government's currently not strong enough to facedown these groups. and they always thrive amid weakness. arwa damon, cnn, tripoli. this just coming in to cnn. the united states is now removing more staff from its embassy in tripoli, libya, for security reasons. according to a senior state department official, we're told the move is intended to be temporary. the staff could return as soon
as next week. but we shall see. the u.s. removing staff, more members of the diplomatic community from the u.s. embassy in tripoli. so what about the investigation into the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya? our national security contributor fran townsend and our intelligence correspondent suzanne kelly, they are getting new details for us. standby. we'll go to them when we come back. [ laughing ] [ laughing ] [ laughing ] [ laughing ] ♪ with less chronic osteoarthritis pain. imagine living your life with less chronic low back pain.
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townsend, a member of the cia external advisory committee. last month she visited libya. also joining us cnn intelligence correspondent suzanne kelly. fran, let me start with you. what's the problem with the fbi -- apparently -- it's hard to believe, they still have not been able to actually get into benghazi to start looking around at the scene of this crime? >> that's right, wolf. and you know, with every passing moment and day it becomes less and less valuable, right? because so many people have been through that consulate now and the annex. but investigators still want to get there. we've heard now, wolf, with them continuing to draw down personnel in tripoli, there are concerns over the security situation. but we know that the fbi's got personnel on the ground, they're in tripoli. we know that there's marine protection at the embassy in tripoli. and so they're trying very hard to make sure that they can get out to benghazi and look at
firsthand the crime scene, the physical setup, to understand -- it's the only way to really understand the facts of what happened and how they unfolded there. >> is the problem that the libyans aren't cooperating? is there another interagency-u.s. problem going on here? what's the issue? >> you know, wolf, i think probably the right answer is all of the above. we know the libyans today issued a statement saying they had offered to get the fbi out to benghazi. they believe they could do that safely. that it was not a security issue. i think american officials though are concerned about security. we've also heard that there have been some interagency wrangling right between the state department who's got to be the interface with the libyan government, make the request and then facilitate it. and they've got fewer personnel on the grown. the secretary's dealing with the u.n. general assembly pulling on her time and attention. we understand there are multiple things that have sort of slowed down the fbi's investigation and caused some frustration. >> suzanne, what are you hearing about this investigation? what's the latest you're hearing
from your sources? >> right. the u.s. official is saying that as fran mentioned the fbi tame has not gone to benghazi more out of concern for the security of the team according to them. however, fran touched on an important point which is going through the crime scene itself to see what's leftover. and there's another important point is having access to the people to get interviews. witnesses and people who may be suspected of having some sort of relationship with the actual attack itself. so that human source and those interviews are going to be really important for fbi investigators to help piece together what exactly happened that night. and this is something that is intended to take maybe weeks or even months. and for the u.s. to kind of think that they can march in and get answers on this right away is simply not realistic. according to someone we talked to today, phil mudd held high level positions both at fbi and cia, he talked about the challenges ahead for investigators but also just why the relationship with the libyans in this case in particular is so important. take a listen to what he had to say. >> i think over time some of the people who are involved
including people from al qaeda, the local organization associated with al qaeda might talk. i doubt they would talk to an american investigator directly. that's one of the major reasons you want to build relationships in tripoli with the local service. who's going to get you there in the first place? in the wake of what just happened, i would not want to have american investigators running around looking for interviewees. i would want someone who was my friend building a relationship in a cafe doing it for me. >> that's why the relationship between the partnership between the americans and libyans is so important, wolf, they need the friends in libya to get access to the people they need to talk to as well as the crime scene. >> bring fran back into this conversation. fran, i can't tell you how many people have said to me why is it possible that cnn and other news organizations can send journalists out there to benghazi, interview a whole bunch of folks, walk around the crime scene, pick up stuff, whatever they want. arwa damon and her team, they were there for several days as
you well know. why can they get in there and do this and then leave but u.s. military or fbi or other personnel can't do it? >> well, wolf, for one thing, when we go in -- when journalists go in, they don't go in as representatives of the united states government, right? we're media personnel. and there's a certain respect and sort of safety in that. anybody who goes in there representing the united states government is, you know, because it's not just the individual, they are representing our nation. so they are at greater risk. i will tell you though oftentimes in working with the host country's service, in this case the libyans, we can get direct access. and the fbi investigators i've spoken to have made perfectly clear it's much more effective to be able to be present even if you're doing that interview alongside the host government than to have to do it through passing questions. there's plenty of room for misunderstanding, for a lack of follow-up and information. so it makes for a much more effective investigation if the fbi can get permission to have
direct access along with their libyan counterparts. >> fran townsend, thank you. suzanne kelly, thanks to you as well. we'll stay on top of this story. mitt romney focused in on military veterans today. we're focusing in when we come back on his faith and a picture of romney that you've probably never seen before. [ male announcer ] this is rudy.
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devotion and understanding of history and his devotion to personal liberty and his comfort with expediency. a an intriguing artaical to how his mormon faith has impacted his campaign style. elaborate a little bit. >> one of the points that john makes, wolf, is that mormonism in many ways is the quintessential american religion. joseph smith saw america as the promise land, as the place where the second coming would happen and it's a religion, basically, based in and vested in the idea of american exceptionalism. on the one hand, that should enable governor romney to talk about america in that way. the other point that he makes that you alluded to earlier, a religion in terms of its existence in america is based on adversity and prejudice and combatting adversity and that should allow him also to rise to the occasion during presidential campaign. >> it makes it, presumably, a stronger campaigner out there, given the rough and tumble of a
political campaign that's under way. you've also uncovered a really intriguing, pretty good picture that we've never seen of mitt romney before. i'll put it up on the screen. i want you to explain what's going on in this picture. >> yes, we think it's from about 1969, wolf. it's why governor romney was on his missionary lead in france as a young man and it was when he was still courting then ann davies who was later to become his wife and he and a friend of his made a number of these kinds of photographs of him wooing ann. it says i love ann on the beaches of southern france and it shows a side of governor romney that we haven't really seen before. romantic, sentimental side. >> he also showed us a little personal side of him on the campaign trail today. let me play this clip and then we'll discuss. >> and he said, i have a young lady that i'm in love with and
we haven't been married and i'm going to go off to conflict. could you marry us? i said, i don't see why not. and in front of the entire audience brought them up and pronounced the wedding ceremony. i figured i was the governor, i could do whatever the heck i wanted to. so, i married these two and when i got back to the office they said, you know, there's this thing called a marriage license, did you know about that, governor? >> the soldier was about to be deployed and a nice story and sort of goes along perfectly with what you guys are writing in "time" magazine. >> we didn't plan it that way, wolf. and it was a picture that we've had for a while and when john's story was, you know, in process, i realized, hey, this is while governor romney was on his missionary period. it seemed appropriate. but, obviously, wolf, they are trying to humanize him a little more and make him more appealing to people, particularly to women voters and i think certainly that story that we just heard
and this picture would help in that respect. >> certainly would. the mormon in mitt is the cover story in "time" magazine. thank you, rick, for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. one of america's oldest unsolved mysteries and it may, may lie underneath a driveway. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] its lightweight construction makes it nimble... ♪ its road gripping performance
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>> reporter: what happened to jimmy hoffa? the notorious one-time teamster union's boss with ties to organized crime disappeared in 1975. now, police plan to drill under the driveway of this suburban detroit home. after receiving a tip from a man who said he'd seen a body being buried here around the time hoffa went missing. initial testing shows there is something underneath the concrete. friday morning, police will take a core sample from the soil there and test it for human remains. >> we do believe that he may have seen a body and as a result we did the ground penetrating radar and we're going to take it to the next step and check for human remains and if that does, in fact, happen, then we will start to escavate. >> reporter: it will be taken for analysis. this isn't the first time authorities have followed a tip like this. >> there's been a lot of earth moved looking for the remains of
jimmy hoffa, all negative so far. i mean, you're talking about digging up football stadiums and fields and backyards and basements. >> reporter: the fbi isn't commenting on this new dig, but we spoke with former fbi assistant director tom fuentes who ran the bureau's organized crime for five years. >> what are the chances that this is hoffa buried underneath this driveway in michigan? >> i would say close to zero. >> why is that? >> if they wanted to dispose of a body when they killed somebody, first of all, they wouldn't do it in a shallow grave under somebody's driveway. they wouldn't do it in front of a witness. >> police expect to get test results next week, which could bring us one step closer to figuring out, what happened to jimmy hoffa. wolf, we did get a statement from the teamsters saying "the hoffa family does not respond every time a tip is responded.
the fbi keeps the family informed and they have no comment until there is a reason to comment." >> what else do we know about what the authorities think might have happened? >> this has been pretty fascinating talking to all these folks about this. they believe the mob put a hit on hoffa. fuentes says one of the working theories was the people who ordered hoffa killed would have ordered his killers killed so that there would be no one left to talk about it. two other fbi agents said they think the killers may have been survived and rewarded by the mob. >> thank you. happening now, israel's prime minister draws a red line. now president obama's campaign is responding. forget waiting until election day, voting already started in the crucial battleground states. and our national security secrets being revealed by hollywood. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." a dire warning and a
dramatic illustration by the israeli prime minister. speaking to the united nations general assembly benjamin netanyahu literally drew a red line as he urged the world to stop iran from developing a nuclear weapon. >> where should a red line be drawn? a red line should be drawn right here. before, before iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb. before iran gets to a point where it's a few months away or a few weeks away. from emassing a enough uranium to make a nuclear weapon. >> dramatic words, indeed. kate baldwin is here, as always. kate, stand by. we also want to talk about what's going on with the obama campaign's national press
secretary ben lebolt joining us live from chicago. very quickly, ben, does the president agree with prime minister netanyahu's definition of a red line? >> wolf, the president reaffirmed that we will not allow iran to develop a nuclear weapon. we saw the prime minister today praise the president for his reaffirmation that we do not have a policy of containment. >> his definition of a red line is not that iran wouldn't get a nuclear bomb, but you saw that 90% threshold, which is different what the president and other obama administration officials have said in defining their red line. you see the difference there between what the prime minister's position is and what the president's position is. >> the president has made clear that we will not allow iran to develop a nuclear weapon. he's rallied in international coalition that applied crippling sanctions to the iranian regime and we will not allow iran to develop a nuclear weapon under
any conditions. >> will you allow iran to get to that 90% threshold close enough to develop a nuclear weapon? >> the president made very clear in his speech before the u.n. general assembly that we will not allow iran to develop a nuclear weapon. >> spell it out for us, ben, where is the daylight between president obama and benjamin netanyahu with regard to iran? >> i think what you've heard from israeli officials during this administration is that there's been unprecedented security cooperation between the united states and israel. security assistance for the united states to israel under this administration. >> let me focus in on the issue of sanctions. you heard the prime minister say the sanctions of help, they are putting the squeeze on iranians but they haven't and they're suggesting that there is an opportunity to further tighten
sanks on iran. is the obama administration, based on what you know, ben, to further tighten sanctions on iran? >> wolf, you know that i'm a campaign official. i don't have access to the source of intelligence that administration officials do. what the president said before the u.n., he would not allow iran to develop a nuclear weapon. >> other issues we want to discuss with you out there on the presidential campaign. focusing today, by the way, on virginia and the state's many military voters. jim acosta is joining us now with details on what's going on on that front. what is the latest as far as the president and mitt romney are concerned specifically in virginia? >> well, wolf, as you know, there was no surprise to hear both candidates go after each other on national security themes. in their speeches today in virginia, they focused not only on defense issues but also the economy. the state is much bigger than just a battleground state over
issues of national security and the economy, wolf. it's really a republican firewall for mitt romney. >> in battleground, virginia, they pulled out the heavy artillery. romney slammed the president for the massive defense cuts that are part of the fiscal clip coming at the end of the year. >> it is still a troubled and dangerous world and the idea of cutting our military commitment by a trillion dollars over this decade is unthinkable. and devastating. and when i become president of the united states, we will stop and i will not cut our commitment to our military. >> president, once again, blasted romney's hidden camera comments on the 47% of americans he dubbed victims of government dependence. >> i don't think we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who never take responsibility for their own lives.
>> 47% of the people who vote for president obama -- >> obama campaign turned secretly recorded remarks into a devastating new ad find the gop nominee's words under the faces of family as and veterans. >> and they will vote for this president, no matter what. they should take personal responsibility. >> romney, who has courted veterans two days in a row is out to link national security to the nation's sluggish recovery. he is seizing on new economic data showing the commerce department revised down from 1.7% to 1.3%. >> this is not just one quarter. this has been going on now for years. china is growing much faster than we, our economy needs to be reinvigorated. >> not all the numbers paint a gloomy picture. the labor department announced
it undercounted nearly 400,000 jobs in 2011, meaning a 4.4 million jobs have been created since the president's inauguration. slightly more than the number lost in that same period. but the president said there's still more work to do. >> we're not where we need to be, not yet. we've got a lot more folks who have to get back to work. we've got a lot more work to do to make the middle class secure, again. but the question is, whose plan is better for you? >> obama win a republican-leaning virginia, could deal romney a crushing blow. the president won here four years ago, becoming the first democrat to do so since lyndon johnson. in this state, the military vote is not the only game in town. football fans are everywhere. it's no surprise a reporter asked romney about the deal to end the dispute between the nfl and its referees. the question romney appeared to fumble. >> what do you think about the nfl? >> i sure hope they do.
>> and, of course, the professional refs are back in business. they start tonight in the game between baltimore and cleveland. but moving back to mitt romney out on the campaign trail, he continues his push on national security issues with an event at a military college in pennsylvania, that is tomorrow. after a fund-raiser in philadelphia and this is a state, wolf, where he is trailing the president by double digits, but it's a state the campaign thinks it could put into play. i talked to a senior romney adviser who said just that earlier this week, wolf. >> let's see if the romney campaign starts putting some money and buying commercials. that would back up their assessment, if that's what they believe. let's bring back the panel, he is the national press secretary. you saw the revision of the gdp, the economic threat numbers. austan goolsbee the chief economist. he said if gdp is growing less than 2% or if things go wrong in europe, he is going to be facing trouble. how worried are you, ben, about
the fact that the economic growth went down to a pretty poor 1. -- what, 3%? >> the president is being clear that there is more that we can do to today to grow the economy at a quicker pace. he put a job's act on the table. had it on the table since last september that independent economists said would grow the economy by another percent. congressman ryan has obstructed that plan and governor romney has opposed it. ultimately, i think, you have a choice between two plans here. the fact is that the president has a plan and you saw that two-minute spot and talking about how we will create the sustaining jobs from middle class and create a million manufacturing jobs and reduce our dependents on foreign oil and get college tuition under control and governor romney still hasn't explained how those $5 trillion tax cuts targeted towards the wealthiest americans would unleash job creation. we pass tax cuts for the wealthiest in 2001 and 2003 and led to a slower pace of job
creation than you've seen over the past few years. >> you know after four years or moving on four years of his presidency the president still today saying it will take a few more years to fix the problem, especially in a place like virginia and some other key battleground states. that has to be a tough sell right now for people who are still unemployed and they need a job today, they don't need it in a few more years. >> well, and that's why we had an honest conversation lout the campaign about where we were in 2008. the progress that we've made and the fact that we need to do more. i mean, we're overcoming what was the worst recession since the great depression. we're losing 800,000 jobs a month when the president came into office. that report you mentioned today made clear that more than 5.1 million sector jobs have been created over the past few years. manufacturing jobs were in decline. 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created during thissed a a administration. republicans have abstructed the actions that the president has put forward that could create more jobs today. a piece of legislation that
republicans in the senate voted down last week. they could have created jobs for 20,000 veterans across this country. he has plans to restore economic security for the middle class. that's what he talks about in the two-minute ad that you played earlier on the show and the fact that mitt romney's budget plan would both shrink the economy and could eliminate a million jobs he wants to cut back in all the areas, areas like education and research and development and infrastructure and manufacturing. countries around the world are racing to invest in these areas. >> ben, thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks for having me, wolf. election day is here, at least for voters in iowa where early voting begins today. we're going there live. john king is standing by. [ male announcer ] now you can swipe... scroll... tap... pinch... and zoom... in your car. introducing the all-new cadillac xts with cue.
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and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... working together has never worked so well. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... i'm also a survivor of ovarian a writand uterine cancers. i even wrote a play about that. my symptoms were a pain in my abdomen and periods that were heavier and longer than usual for me. if you have symptoms that last two weeks or longer, be brave, go to the doctor. ovarian and uterine cancers are gynecologic cancers. symptoms are not the same for everyone. i got sick...and then i got better. we're still 40 days away from the president election, but
millions of americans are already casting their ballots and that includes residents of iowa where early voting began today. our chief national correspondent john king is live for us. >> the president has a bit of momentum, it is a thursday, not a tuesday. it is september, as you noted, a full 40 days until november 6th but in iowa, today's election day. >> thank you so much for coming. >> reporter: mind made up and ballot cast 40 days early. this opening line is in iowa city. this one in des moines. iowa's early voting, part of an important and growing national trend. 35 states now allow some form of in-person voting, including seven of the nine personal battleground cnn ranks as toss-ups. here in iowa the early numbers and turn out suggest a big obama head start.
so far, a nearly five to one democratic advantage statewide in requesting early mail-in ballots. >> i'm wondering if the president will have your support this november? osam. >> reporter: when it comes to early in-person voting, getting younger voters in the bank early. >> you may know that in-person early voting starts tomorrow in iowa. so, basically, for us here at the campaign every day is going to be election day. >> yes, we can. >> reporter: johnson county, home to the university of iowa, led the state four years ago when 55% of its ballots were cast early. >> the entire world is watching us. >> reporter: as president of the university democrats, catherine's job was getting her fellow students to vote now. fair to say, not the most reliable, if you just wait for one day. >> yeah, no, i mean things coming up and you can have an exam and realize you don't know what your precinct is.
>> veteran republican strategist concedes president obama is ahead as september winds down and early voting opens. >> anybody that knows football knows that fourth quarter is where most of the action happens. october will be big and if romney has a good start to the month, we'll be fine. >> reporter: grubs was against making too much of the early rush. >> in 2010 democrats had the edge in early voting, as well. i can't tell you exactly what the edge was, but it was a significant edge and republicans still swept the state. it's a difference of strategy. if you put your money in the last three weeks or early voting. >> the gop sent the first early vote mailing just this week. >> can mitt romney and paul ryan count on your support this november election? excellent. and would you be interested in voting early this election? >> reporter: karen is credited with making the iowa gops 1 millionth voter call. >> i'm calling with a brief three-question survey with issues that matter to iowa.
>> reporter: she is doing her part as republicans play early voting catchp. >> we're working hard here and rolling up our sleeves and putting our boots on and we're going at it. we still have time. >> and as republicans play that game of catch up, wolf, one thing that helps them, they have parity when it comes to statewide voter registration. the biggest help when mitt romney turned in a debate performance next week. they say young people. they understand the energy, the enthusiasm is down from the historymaking year in 2008. if they can get those votes in the bank early, all the better. >> if they can get the base to turn out, the republican base, the democratic party base, but the undecided, the independents, i take it, correct me if i'm wrong, john. they want to see the three presidential debates, the one vice presidential debate and then they'll make up their mind. >> exactly right. because imagine if you were somebody who was swayed by a tv
ad last night or something you saw in the news over the past couple days. you cast that ballot today and there is a big moment in the debate and you change your mind, too late to get it back. if you're undecided, you're likely to wait. the people were standing in line for both parties. you'll find obama voters in line those are people who are hard core and with their person, no matter what. republicans say in the end, as long as they get their base out, it doesn't matter if they vote early or late, it is the most influenced in the middle. >> thanks very much, john king, for us in iowa. kate, those debates powerfully important. >> more so than in past election cycles. >> i think so, too. terrorist on the attack in libya. top pentagon officials are now speaking out with some of the bluntest language yet. you know, because you been, you know, this is what you had been doing. you know, working, working, working, working, working, working. and now you're talking about, well you know, i won't be, and i get the chance to spend more time
a man behind that anti-muslim film that provoked so much anger and rage has been arrested. he just appeared via conference. cnn miguel marquez is joining us on the phone. tell us viewers, miguel, what happened. nakoula basseley nakoula has been ordered for a preliminary bail hearing. he has been arrested. my understanding from the sources that he will either pay the bill today or taken into custody. all of this he is ahead of a full revocation hearing. a proivation revocation hearing. remember, he is on five years probation for bank fraud and talked to by probation officers and clearly a feeling in the
federal courts that he violated that probation order and now this is the first step towards that full revocation hearing. we believe, wolf, that hears not occurred yesterday. something extraordinary the court is going through judge schneider's courtroom has been locked down in downtown l.a. no reporters allowed in and all reporters are watching it in anotherria television screen. wolf? >> that 14-minute trailer that was posted on youtube. miguel, thanks very much. also news we're following, the u.s. is removing more staff from its embassy in triptripoli libya. this is a temporary further draw down for security reasons. the source says it will be reviewed early next week with the goal of restoring staff as soon as conditions allow. this all coming as pentagon officials and many are discussing still talking about investigating that attack on the consulate in benghazi, libya,
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nuclear program to the united nations general assembly today. >> if you missed it at a one point, netanyahu used a cartoon-like drawing of a bomb to illustrate his point and he literally drew that red line across it and his speech was aimed as much as the obama administration as it was at the u.n. listen here. >> the relevant question is not when iran will get the bomb. the relevant question is at what stage can we no longer stop iran from getting the bomb. the red line must be drawn on iran's nuclear enrichment program and i believe faced with a clear red line, iran will back down. this will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to convince iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program altogether. >> let's discuss this a little bit more right now with two guests. jim zogby the president of
american institute and danielle, thanks to both of you for coming in. you heard what the prime minister jim said. i followed up the last hourisra ambassador and he elaborated a little bit. listen to this. >> we believe by drawing that red line, you won't be increasing the chances of military engagement, you will be significantly lessening the chances because the iranians have been presented with red lines in the past in the straits of hurmus and we know they can see the color red and cross those type of lines. >> all right, jim, is he right? >> i think the president handled it very well in thiz speech. it was very firm. i would go with the way that the president approachedtop. >> what is the difference you see between the president's position on iran and a nuclear bomb versus the prime minister's position? >> thoughtful versus bombastic.
that's the difference. ia you don't win points. you win points and you win support for the position you want to win by being thoughtful, clear and, at the same time, very direct. >> what do you make, danielle, of prime minister netanyahu speech today? >> i thought he was very clear. i didn't think he was bombastic. i thought people would be much sharper and tougher on the iranians. >> how much tougher could he be, though? >> again, he really tempered any criticism of the united states. you know, we've heard a lot coming out of jerusalem about the obama administration's unwillingness to set red lines. today, there was none of that throwing down the gauntlet to washington. he focused on the iranians and one thing i was surprised by, how much applause he got. >> if there was a president romney in the white house, what is different in u.s. position
towards iran. do you anticipate, do you think we would see a u.s./israeli strike on iran next year then? >> i am not an adviser to governor romney and he has not confided his plans to iran to me, if he has any. what i think he's trying to underscore is the question of credibility. right now we have a president of the united states who has said, again, again, and again. i will not tolerate, this is unacceptable. all we've seen on the ground is an intensification of sanctions. sanctions are only a tool. the truth is over the last three years iran has made more progress towards a nuclear weapon than it has in the previous ten years. that is really a promise we face and what romney is trying to say is that the iranians will take him more seriously and that he will back israel. >> do you see a major difference between romney and president obama? >> absolutely. the difference is president obama is winning friends and allies and trying very hard to build international coalitions based on respect. all that was squandered in the eight years that proceeded his
administration and the slow, steady process of regaining trust has been a difficult one. look, he didn't get a magic wand when he was elected. he got the shovel that george bush was using to dig deep holes and he's trying to get out of the holes. as, for example, we want to see on syria, can only come about if you have allies willing to back you up. we had that with libya and we don't have that with syria. right now, it's very dangerous with iran. we do not want to see a unilateral action by anyone with iran, but international pressure is mounting, sanctions are working and president obama saying the red line is no bomb and, frankly, i believe he means it. >> do you want to respond? >> i do. very nice picture. shovels and all the rest of it, but you're really a numbers guy and i think the numbers speak for themselves. the truth is we're even less popular in the middle east than we were on to the bush administration. >> those are my numbers and that's not exactly a fair case.
we're at the same level and the reason why is because too many of the things -- >> oh, it's all george bush's fault. come on, that's getting a little -- >> president obama did not deliver, but one reason he wasn't able to deliver on many things was the obstruction that he faced at home. the slam down that he got by congress last year was embarrassing to the united states of america and took a heavy toll. >> you've never seen an administration hat has cow tailed more and tried more in the arab and muslim world to gain friends and influence people and the truth is that it's policy that matters, not sucking up that matters. >> if you look at the way that libya and egypt has responded to these crises. you saw something that did not happen in the past -- >> you mean no condemnation of the violence. >> he condemned it -- >> he condemned it 48 hours later. >> you have a new poll that is out that your organization the zogby poll, your brother is the pollster. how important is the u.s.
outreach to the arab and muslim this is likely among arrack and muslim world. there is a consistent added to that it is really important to reach out to the arab and muslim worlds. >> my community is a bridge to that world and needs to be taken seriously. the air ab vote matters and what they're saying they favor president obama still. >> overwhelmingly? >> overwhelming, almost two to one. a gap between the vote he got in 2008 and now in part and that is based on some disappointment and he has time to grow it between now and november. >> 85% of republicans say outreach is important to them. i mean, do you think when we're looking at this presidential race, do you think mitt romney has done that? has done enough outreach, especially when you look at his reaction right after the libyan attacks and the protests in the middle east? >> outreach to who? outreach to the terrorists that committed the attack in libya r or outreach to the middle east? >> reach out to terrorists.
you know, they want to fight the terrorists, but people do want to reach out to the middle east. >> i think that any president of the united states, whether it's going to be obama or romney is going to have to reach out to the arab world. the problem is, in the arab world the thing they most fear right now is a growing and a threatening iran. that's what we hear in the gulf, that's what you hear from everybody. they're not afraid about having their hand held, they're afraid whether america is going to have their back and privately they're telling everybody that that is their biggest concern. america is retreating and we hear all this about a pivot to asia and they're worried we're not serious about their problems any more. >> i want to move on, but do you want to say anything about that? >> america is paying attention to asia and also pay attention to central and south america. frankly, we've waited for hemispheric approach to policy we haven't had it. but is american government giving up on the middle east? no. and it cannot afford to. the economic ties that we have,
number two because we're so deeply invested in terms of personnel and other interests and allies that we have. i think the president has been very clear, not only about rira, but clear to establish the need of relationships with these emerging and provide them with the assistance they need to move forward. we can't start this arab spring and not direct this arab spring, but we need to be serious. >> not in syria, of course. >> if we took the approach that president romney or frez mccain would have taken to syria, we would be now today engaged with ground troops in syria creating a humanitarian -- >> you're a pretty aggressor commander in chief for these guys. i don't think either suggested that. >> they call for a humanitarian commander. you occupy syrian territory. >> i don't think that is what that means. >> seizing territory. >> all i can tell you is that mouthing -- >> the american people -- are the american people ready for
that kind of approach? the answer is no. >> i can't talk over you quite that much, but i don't think ignoring the death of 30,000 people is the right approach. >> no one is ignoring the death of 30,000 people. the regime is horrific and the president has spoken about that. but the question is, his hands are tied. he cannot act unilaterally. >> we have to wrap it up. i will point it out in my interviews with mitt romney and john mccain, they are not supporting u.s. ground forces going in. i think they have something more along the line like in air strikes or whatever, or a no-fly zone which is what they did in libya. >> u.s. military has been very clear about the fact if you establish a no-fly zone, you have to take out air defense systems which, in syria, are much more advance ed than they were in libya. this is not a cake walk, as we were told by many republicans, as we went into iraq. >> not everything about is about george bush. we need to take our foreign policy seriously now and act like grown ups who aren't -- you
know, that's important. >> can we continue this conversation in the other room? >> we're going to take it outside. >> no, we'll continue it here in "the situation room" but more to discuss in the days and weeks to come. >> i would like to continue the conversation. >> we will. foreign policy is critically important and we report on it a lot. we'll take a quick break and be right back. our abundant natural gas is already saving us money, producing cleaner electricity, putting us to work here in america and supporting wind and solar. though all energy development comes with some risk, we're committed to safely and responsibly producing natural gas. it's not a dream. america's natural gas... putting us in control of our energy future, now. boring. boring. [ jack ] after lauren broke up with me, i went to the citi private pass page and decided to be...not boring.
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villaraigosa. remember when he declared that they were amending the platform to declare jerusalem and i want to play the clip because, at the end, there is an intriguing moment. >> all those delegates in favor say aye. all those delegates opposed say no. and the opinion of the chair two-thirds have voted in the affirmative, the motion is adopted. and the platform has been amended as shown on the screen. >> air a air rab americans were standing there. >> not the convention's finest hour. in fact, cast a poll for a couple of days on the proceedings. we should have been talking the next day about bill clinton's incredible speech and instead i was talking to reporters about this fiasco and, frankly, it shouldn't have happened and shouldn't have happened the way it happened. the language that got added at the end of the day was
inconsequential. jerusalem is the capital of israel. it is going to be the capital of israel and also the capital of a palestinian state. it said that it has to be negotiated betweenparties. we agree with that. all of that embarrassment to prove a point that nobody needed to have proved i think was an embarrassment and was wrong. >> danielle, one other issue that took center stage today at the united nations with abbas and netanyahu speaking today was the middle east peace process. >> or lack there of. >> or lack there of. listen to the comments and i'm sure you're aware of, but listen to these comments that mitt romney made at that fund-raiser back in may. listen to this. >> i'm torn by two perspectives in this regard. one is the one which i've had for some time, which is that the palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace and that the pathway to peace is
almost u.n. thinkable to accomplish. >> the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. i mean, what do you make of those remarks? do these hurt him? i mean, shouldn't he be more optimistic in running for president than he can kick start this, again? >> the peace process is one of those things that constantly comes up. everybody brings new vigor to it and everybody ends up in the same place. we've seen this with president after president, republicans and it doesn't matter what party anybody comes from. at the end of the day, unfortunately, what mitt romney said has been the reality. does that mean that has to be the future? i don't think it has to be the future, but right now what you see is a palestinian group, a palestinian territory that isn't doing any better than it has been. >> when he says that palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace. if you look at the leadership of the palestinian authority, mahmoud abbas, the prime minister, they have clearly stated they would like to establish peace of a two-state
solution. that's different than amhamas a gaza. >> you know, they both complain. both sides complain. the palestinians complain and the israelis complain. they're mirror images in many ways because they are complaining the other side isn't really willing to do what it takes. at the end of the day, what we've seen up to now, that is the reality. they haven't been willing to do what it takes. >> should president obama have been doing more in trying to push for this? >> i think he tried but i think what he was unable to do was to deal with the problems in congress. the slap down that he got from his own congress when they invited benjamin netanyahu and gave him 29 standing ovations in order, as he rebuked their own president. was humility and across the middle east, it actually was devastating to people. they said, is this how your congress treats your own president? one is the occupier and the other is the occupied -- >> i don't think that's quite
accurate. come on. >> actually, if you say the palestinians aren't occupied, i don't know what you'd call it. >> the palestinians have territory for them selselves an they mismanaged -- >> when we polled in 2006 before that election we asked the question, if peace were possible, who would you vote for? 73% of those who voted for hamas who said they were hamas voters said they would have voted if they thought peace were possible. they didn't think it was possible. the point is if you give people the hope that peace will be there and you actually move in that direction, the palestinian c constituency will come along. right now one leader unwilling to make peace. >> and another unwilling to make peace. >> that's the problem. >> you can't have a one-sided version of history and you can't have a one-sided version of policy. it just doesn't work. the reality is we don't have a peace. next president is going to have to dedicate himself to, but clearly the pathway that we've been down so many times hasn't
led to peace. >> but the way to start that is not -- >> that's why the president isn't talking about it in the race. >> we'll see what happens after the election. my own sense is that they have to try. it's too important. there's a peace group among the israelis and a peace group among the palestinians and they have to find a way. they need help from the outside. my personal recommendation, whoever is the next president of the united states, they invite bill clinton to be the special middle east peace negotiator and he has credibility and -- >> took the words out of my mouth. i went with clinton in '98 to gaza and jerusalem and bethlehem and i saw him talk over the heads of both leadership and win people to his side. his problem was that he pushed too late. >> he did, but he gave everything he could -- >> never too late. peace is too important. >> look where we are. >> the reason it didn't work, it was the end of his presidency. >> let's look forward. >> let's get him involved in this peace process after this
election. well, maybe republicans would be smart to do it. all right, guys, thanks for coming in. a political reporter trying to get answers about a federal investigation gets doused with water. you'll find out why. the writer's desktop and the coordinator's phone are working on a joke with local color. the secure cloud just received a revised intro from the strategist's tablet. and while i make my way into the venue, the candidate will be rehearsing off of his phone. [ candidate ] and thanks to every young face i see out there. [ woman ] his phone is one of his biggest supporters. [ female announcer ] with cisco at the center... working together has never worked so well.
top u.s. officials still seem to be getting on the same page about whether or not the deadly attack in benghazi was a terrorist attack, was it not a terrorist attack. what's going on? i know you and your team have been investigating. >> wolf, over the past few days, it's gotten more and more confusing and from our reporting here, it seems to boil down to what appears to b a split
between the intelligence committee in the united states and the white house and state department on the other side. in terms of whether it was a terrorist attack and who was responsible. obviously, al-qaeda now is different than al-qaeda was a few years ago, but groups linked to al-qaeda, inspired by al-qaeda, are the groups they are say iing was responsible an they're saying the government knew within 24 hours. we're going to be joined by a top senator who has put out a letter who said he wants all the information sent by ambassador stevens. senator corker is going to be our guest tonight and nancy pelosi says she can win the house. she keeps saying it, so we found out whether the claim adds up. >> anxious to hear. they need 25 seats. a gain of 25 seats for her to become the speaker of the house once again. i'm anxiously looking for it, kate. kate. >> kate's right there. >> kate.
>> see you guys. >> erin, thank you. when we come back, what one reporter did that got him a good on the job soaking. the ones who inspire us, the ones who make us laugh, the ones with the strong shoulder to lean on, the ones we're named after, and the ones named after us. it takes all kinds of good to make a family. at new york life, everything we do is to help you keep good going. romney: "it's time to stand up to the cheaters" vo: tough on china? not mitt romney. when a flood of chinese tires threatened a thousand american jobs...
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questions. here's jeanne moos. >> please don't water the reporter. >> i'm sorry to bother you, i'm michael -- >> wplg's senior political reporter was trying to get a comment from a former candidate reportedly under investigation for campaign impro pryties when the man's wife doused michael. he responded the way any red blooded reporter would. >> i hope you were rolling. >> yeah. >> we are all wet. >> maybe the reporter should have approach ed the the door wearing goggles because the writing was on the wall. no comment, the sign on the door read, trespassers will be wet. >> thankfully, that was cool tap water. kind of refreshing. >> sure beats the steaming hot
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